There are facts on ground to believe that the total volume of natural gas flared by oil and gas companies in the country which rose by 17.46 per cent year-on-year to 287.59 billion standard cubic feet in 2017, may start to drop from this year.
This is based on the recent revelation by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), that it is partnering with some private sector investors to harvest flaring gas and process them to cooking gas for household usage.
Besides, earlier this year, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun said the Federal Government planned to make gas flaring more costly for companies that had escaped the payment of billions of dollars despite being fined.
Bloomberg quoted Adeosun to have said in an interview that “legal framework for the gas flaring penalty, it was drafted as a charge. A charge is tax deductible,” stressing that “…what do the international oil companies do? They flare; they pay the charge on which they get tax relief. That’s just bad drafting”.
However, the new move by the NNPC, if well driven, will among other things reduce flaring which has been causing sleepless nights in oil communities for ages and further increase gas supply which moved up last year by 8.1 per cent to 2.79 trillion scf.
Additional details from the Corporation showed that in 2016, 2.58 trillion scf of gas was supplied to the market, while 244.84 billion scf was flared by the oil companies.
The NNPC data showed that 24.77 billion scf of gas was flared in January; 20.42 billion scf in February; 21.47 billion scf in March; 20.50 billion scf in April; 21.75 billion scf in May, and 19.90 billion scf in June.
In the second half of the year, the country recorded the highest volume of gas flared in December at 31.88 billion scf, up from 26.24 billion scf in November; 24.24 billion scf in October; 25.53 billion scf in September, and 28.51 billion scf in August.
Out of the total gas supply of 2.79 trillion scf last year, 391.95 billion scf and 1.23 trillion scf were commercialised for the domestic and export markets, respectively, while 1.17 trillion scf was used for re-injection as fuel gas and flared.
NNPC noted that “For the period of January to December 2017, an average of 1.08 billion scfd of gas was supplied to the domestic market, comprising of an average of 668.08 million scfd or (62.07 per cent) as gas supply to the power plants and 408.26 million scfd or (37.93 per cent) as gas supply to industries”.